I’m always on the hunt for Korean teas… though they also tend to be expensive. I was able to get in a deal with What-Chat Teas over reddit awhile back to preorder/group buy/meet his minimum order for these Korean teas. There is a few other sellers that carry Dong Cheon as well, but both teas, Korea Dong Cheon Sejak Jaksulcha Green Tea and Korea Dong Cheon Sejak Dancha Black Tea, are available on What-Cha.
Korea Dong Cheon Sejak Jaksulcha Green Tea
Sejak refers to picking time, thus this is a Spring 2016 tea. What-Cha has a summer picking available, aka Daejak. Jaksul means “Sparrow’s Tongue”, but also more or less inferred as “high quality green tea”, thus after removing the country origin and farmer, this tea is called high quality green tea green tea, making brain hurt.
This sounds like a really delicate green when temperature instructions are this low temperature. I decided to play conservative, following the steeping instructions somewhat, going heavier on the leaf to 1 gram of leaf to 30ml of vessel size, with 160F/70C. I started with the directed steep of 30 seconds. However, I used my glass gaiwan here – mostly as I could due to low temperature, but also to get some cool photos.
Dry Leaf and Steeping Method
Mmm, this tea smells great! The scent is milky sweet and grassy. The leaf is cute with short green curls, with the tea being a soft tint of green colour with a fresh scent of picked corn.
First Infusion: Sips in interestingly buttery and sweet fresh corn. If you ever had the luxury of boiling up a cob of corn that was picked that morning – this sejak green has that taste! The texture is like melted butter, leaving a buttery trail down my face because I coughed like a noob. The aftertaste is lightly grassy. I really don’t drink this low temperature of teas these days, it was cool enough for me to chug it if I wanted to.
Second, Third, and Fourth Infusion: The flavor toughed up, showing off the grassy notes as if I chomped on the green off the cob. The flavor is still very fresh corny, but oddly lots some of the fresh flavor, reverting back to that flavor of eating raw corn off the cob. The last infusions here dropped in flavor drastically yet were only a touch dry without any bitter.
Fifth Infusion: 5 minute infusion with a temperature increase to 175F in attempt to see if I can break this green. It sips in grassy and corny, but the finish is moderately bitter – drinkable if you are used to all that young sheng like I am, otherwise not drinkable. Most likely better to just stop at around the third infusion for best flavor.
This green tea was pretty good – the steeping instructions worked well!
Korea Dong Cheon Sejak Dancha Black Tea
This tea is also a spring 2016 tea. Digging around, Dan Cha might mean hong/red tea. My Korean isn’t that good and google isn’t helping me here. I caved and bought 100 grams of this under the assumption of 1. Owl likes black tea. 2. Owl like Korean tea, despite never of tried Korean black tea.
Dry Leaf and Steeping Method
The leaf smells like burnt wood shavings. The leaf here looks a little different than the green tea as there is bigger leaf and sticks.
I am now regretting my life choices, especially after seeing the package read “176F/80C” FOR A BLACK TEA. WHAT?! I hope this isn’t bitter city. Bah, 175F. I’ll continue with the glass gaiwan and try the low temperature and see what happens. I decided to use a similar low ratio of 1 gram to 20ml. 30 second infusion to start.
First and Second Infusion: The tea steeps up an interesting orange.
Sips light to start, but gets very bright in the end of concentrated golden raisin with a sharp barky wood taste. It has a sharp aftertaste of lemon which is unique and something I don’t come across in black teas that often. The texture is like a watery gel, it is sort of thick but falling apart. Oddly, I have watery gel moisturizers, also from Korea. I’m not liking this low temperature black steeping. I get good flavor but the body feels like it is missing something that holds it together.
Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh Infusion: WE BOIL! Boil or GTFO.
I braced myself for the bitter tea barf…. but it didn’t come. This Korean black tea is just as pleasant, just stronger in flavor. It tastes more sharp raisin and stronger lemon. The texture is tighter with a thicker feel. Very little dryness. I quite like this, but application seems wrong. This would make a killer iced tea – hot steep into a giant vat and drink at a BBQ. Or a perfect black to pair with afternoon tea snacks to brighten the heavy creamy sweets. This tea has that same vibe of brisk, but in a refreshing lemon form. Saying that this Sejak Dancha is good BBQ party tea crushes my soul as this is expensive black tea, not something I’d drink out of a tacky plastic cup.
The combined steepings really got acidic in my gut that needed to be fixed with greasy pepperoni pizza. I think this black needs a lot more experimentation to get right before it gets demoted to iced tea service. It be killer iced tea though! Admittedly, I first drafted this review back in January hoping I would of figured out a good ratio/temperature… but I have not despite a couple attempts. This Sejak Dancha is still raisin and lemon brisk flavor with a loose body.
Either way, both teas are interesting and I am glad I purchased. If you haven’t tried Korean teas, you got to – they are quite different flavor profiles due to cultivars and processing.